WILLING TO TAKE THEIR PRIMARY INTO CONVENTION NOMINATING FRAMEWORK
The executive committee of the Alaska Republican Party has unanimously authorized chairman Tuckerman Babcock to protect the Republican primary and move forward with a lawsuit, or injunction against the Division of Elections, if necessary.
The meeting was called Monday after the party had notified the Division that three incumbent Republicans were no longer qualified to run in the party’s primary in August. The Division of Elections Director Josie Bahnke disagreed, and said unless the court orders her, she will allow any declared Republican to be on the Republican ballot.
Reps. Gabrielle LeDoux, Paul Seaton, and Louise Stutes had been the subject of a series of increasingly specific sanctions from the Republican Party due to their direct involvement in turning over the power of the House of Representatives to Democrats and indie-Democrats, even though a majority of Republicans had been elected in 2016.
After the three defected from their party to flip the control of the House, their district Republicans voted to sanction them, and those sanctions then went to the State Central Committee, which voted to withdraw all support for their candidacy. The committee later voted to deny them access to the Republican primary ballot.
But Bahnke has denied Republicans the power to control their primary ballot, although a Supreme Court decision upheld Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg’s decision to allow Democrats to control their ballots by allowing non-aligned candidates to run in their primary.
Bahnke ruled that allowing candidates to run is a different matter than disallowing candidates to be on a party’s ballot. She wants another court ruling before she can allow Republicans that authority. Apparently, Bahnke has concluded that ballot control applies mainly to Democrats.
Republicans in Alaska have a closed Republican Party primary ballot, unlike the Democrats, which allow anyone to vote on their primary ballot.
ARP Chairman Babcock said the unanimous decision of the executive committee authorizes “any and all appropriate action by the chair to enforce our rules with respect to the integrity of our primary election. The authorization includes the filing of an injunction or a lawsuit to compel the state to follow the constitution. We recommend the chair proceed with all due speed. Legal expenditures by the ARP may not exceed those available in the ARP Legal Trust Fund.”
The executive committee then voted to approve a special committee to study an alternative to a state-run primary: Nomination by convention. That is the method parties use at the national level to nominate Republican candidates for president, and other states use the convention method to determine their candidates for state office: Connecticut, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Utah, for example.
A nomination by convention would necessitate the party paying for it itself, rather than participate in the state’s primary election on Aug. 21.